Xcel Energy moves to buy another wind farm

Source: E&E • Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013

Xcel Energy Inc. yesterday announced plans to purchase another wind farm currently under development in North Dakota, making it the fourth wind power project the utility has bought within the past month.

The 150-megawatt Border Winds Project along the U.S.-Canadian border could save customers $45 million over its lifetime because its total cost over a 20-year span is less than the cost of purchasing natural gas and burning it in existing power plants, the company said.

“Wind energy is a valuable, low-cost substitute for natural gas and other fuels right now,” Dave Sparby, Xcel’s Minnesota-region chief executive, said in a statement. “These projects will reduce customer costs by providing a valuable hedge to rising and volatile fuel prices well into the future.”

In total, the four new wind farms will generate 750 MW of wind power in Xcel’s Upper Midwest service territory, roughly equal to the output of a large power plant.

In July, the utility asked regulators to approve three wind projects, all expected to be in service by 2016 (Greenwire, July 17).

The Rolette County, N.D., wind project is being developed by RES America Developments Inc. (David Shaffer, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Aug. 1